About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Kaʻū News Briefs, Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Honuʻea: The Endangered Hawksbill Turtle of Hawaiʻi Island is the subject of this year's first Coffee Talk at Kahuku 
on Friday, Feb. 22, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Kahuku Unit's Visitor Center. See details in events section. Bigstock photo
SUBSIDIZING HOUSING FOR TEACHERS is making its way through the Hawaiʻi Legislature. West Kaʻū Sen. Dru Kanuha is co-sponsor of the voucher program. He said, "I'm proud to support SB12 and SB114 (introduced by Sen. Stanley Chang) -- which would provide housing vouchers for teachers who work at hard-to-fill schools."
       Teachers in Kaʻū schools could meet the requirements. Other areas in the state where vouchers would be offered include Keaʻau, Pāhoa, Molokaʻi, Lanaʻi, Hana, Nanakuli, and Waianae. They would be available for charter and traditional public school teachers.
Sen. Dru Kanuha
     The voucher program administered by Hawaiʻi Housing Finance and Development Corp. would provide assistance to full-time teachers where positions are "hard-to-fill." The subsidies would be for teachers whose incomes fall below 80 percent of the median income of those who live in the area. Vouchers would be capped at $500 per month.
     Vouchers could be used for rent, mortgages, and down payments on purchasing primary residences. Those receiving vouchers would be disqualified if they own other places to live.
     Hawaiʻi Department of Education Superintendent Christina Kishimoto supports the measure. She submitted testimony referring to a 2016 Learning Policy Institute study. She wrote that "housing incentives was one factor for teachers who left the profession in their consideration in returning to the field of education. The financial assistance provided through the voucher program may help to ease some of the financial burden, magnified by high cost of living in Hawaiʻi."
     Lindsay Chambers, a Department of Education spokesperson, said it's an effort to come up with a tool for recruitment and retention of quality educators. Several testimonies noted that the teacher shortage results in the hiring of less qualified persons and vacancies at public schools.
    The state Charter School Commission also provided supportive testimony.
    Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association – the public school teachers union –  sent in testimony saying, "Financial incentives are a key strategy for the recruitment and retention of teachers, particularly given that Hawaiʻi's teacher salaries continue to trail the nation when adjusted for cost of living. If we concentrate on retaining our teachers, the HIDOE would not have to focus so much on the recruitment of teachers. To recruit and retain effective educators, policymakers must find ways to lessen the financial burden of being a public school teacher. Establishing a housing voucher program is a good first step."
     The Hawaiʻi Democratic Party provided testimony saying: "Hawaiʻi teachers experience the lowest salaries for their profession in the nation, when those salaries are adjusted for the cost of living. At the same time, island housing and rental prices are continuing to skyrocket."
     The two measures, Senate Bills 12 and 114, passed the Senate Ways and Means Committee last week. See and provide testimony at the links above.

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TEACHERS WHO SPEND THEIR OWN MONEY ON CLASSROOM SUPPLIES may get some relief this year from the Hawaiʻi Legislature. House Bill 726 would provide up to $500 per school year in state income tax credit for teachers, principals, school librarians, aides, and counselors who work a minimum of 900 hours. The teachers union reports that about 47 percent of these Department of Education employees spend $250 to $500 out of their own pockets to supplement supplies in the workplace. The bill is being considered in the House Finance Committee. See testimony at the link above.

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LEO ASUNCION IS THE NEW PUC APPOINTEE by Gov. David Ige. Asuncion's appointment to the Public Utilities Commission, which oversees electric rates and other utilities and transportation matters, faces state Senate confirmation. He would replace Randy Iwase, who retired at the end of last year.
Leo Asuncion, appointed to PUC.
     Asuncion is planning program administrator for the state's Office of Planning, overseeing overall management, administration, and operations of the Planning Division. He also served as director and interim director of the Office of Planning from 2015 to 2018.
     Asuncion was a senior regulatory analyst and senior integrated resource planning analyst at Hawaiian Electric Company; a project planner/manager at SSFM International, Inc.; a planner for the Planning and Program Evaluation Division at the Hawai‘i State Judiciary; and a state planner at the state Land Use Commission.
     "Leo's wealth of knowledge and experience will be an asset to the Public Utilities Commission. I have the utmost confidence that he will serve the State of Hawai‘i well," said the governor.
     "I'm honored that Gov. Ige named me to the Public Utilities Commission, and I look forward to bringing my expertise and knowledge to the PUC to ensure that the public's interest is upheld in PUC matters," said Asuncion.
     Other commissioners are Jennifer Potter and James Griffin, who was appointed PUC chair in January.

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KAʻŪ'S REP. IN CONGRESS, TULSI GABBARD, LAUNCHED A CAMPAIGN FOR PRESIDENT that has recently taken her to Iowa and New Hampshire. She said, "The momentum we are building and the support you are showing will help propel our campaign forward in the primaries. Everywhere I go, I'm reminded of how strong our voices are when we stand united. It's humbling to hear from folks who braved snow storms or drove for hours to make their voices heard. Looking out into a crowd of hopeful and determined faces, the energy is electric."
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, meeting veterans in New England this week. 
Photo from Gabbard's Twitter
     She said she and her supporters "stand united against a political establishment and a status quo that is failing us. We stand united against regime change war, the new cold war, and the nuclear arms race. We stand united against the corruption and big money interests that have poisoned our government.
     "We stand united for clean air and clean water. We stand united for Medicare for All and reform to our broken criminal justice system, big Wall Street banks, and our immigration system — to ensure our government is truly of, by, and for the people."
     The House of Representatives member said the next step is to "take our voices to the debate stage. The establishment isn't going to go out of their way to make room for a message that challenges a system they've rigged in their favor — so it's up to us to make sure that message reaches the country." She reminded supporters that her campaign rejects PAC money, relying solely on small contributions from individuals.

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A FLASH FLOOD WATCH for Hawaiʻi Island continues through 6 a.m. tomorrow morning and may be extended, report the National Weather Service. NWS forecasts possible heavy rainfall and thunderstorms. NWS recommends: All Residents in flood prone areas are asked to remain alert for flooding conditions. Do not attempt to cross flowing water; turn around don't drown. Ocean front residents should exercise caution near the shoreline.

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Guide sign along Kaʻū Desert Trail. Photo by Jay Robinson
SECTIONS OF KAʻŪ DESERT, HILINA PALI AND HALEMAʻUMAʻU TRAILS AND MAUNA LOA  ROAD ARE OPEN in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. They were  closed last year due to impacts from tens of thousands of earthquakes that also damaged roads, buildings, and other park infrastructure. Mauna Loa Road was closed due to fire risks.
     A 7.3-mile section of Ka‘ū Desert Trail from Highway 11 to the Ka‘aha Trail intersection is now open, as is the 4.8-mile stretch to the Hilina Pali Overlook. The park also repaired and reopened a 0.8-mile portion of Halema‘uma‘u Trail that starts at the rainforest summit of Kīlauea near Volcano House, to the steaming caldera floor.
     In addition, recent rainfall has doused the fire risk on Mauna Loa Road, at least for now. The road that leads to the 6,662-foot Mauna Loa Lookout is now open to vehicles. Drivers are reminded to follow all speed limits and watch out for other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
     "We are elated to reopen these sections of the park to our visitors again," said Acting Superintendent Laura Schuster. "We continue to make progress in our recovery efforts following the historic eruptive and seismic activity that happened last year and caused us to close for more than four months."
     Additional assessments and repairs continue at iconic park features that sustained serious damage from the 60,000 earthquakes that shook Kīlauea between April 30 and Aug. 4, 2018. Visitors are encouraged to stay informed by checking the park website, nps.gov/hawaiivolcanoes

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A curtain of ʻōhiʻa tree roots in an Ocean View lava tube is illuminated with 
back lights as cameraman Mark Sharman (left) and producer Alex Ranken 
confer on the shot that will reveal details of the lava tube-adapted 
insects that call these roots home. Photo by Scott Engel
NATURE: LIVING VOLCANOES, a movie with footage shot in caves in Ocean View, premiers tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 8 p.m. on PBS. Lava tube-dwelling thread-legged bugs will be featured, and cave biology scientists Megan Porter and Annette Summers-Engel will be mentioned.
     In an interview with The Kaʻū Calendar in September, Summers-Engel said, "Lava tube biology is like an untapped well. A lot remains to be learned about life. We have only scratched the surface. The deeper we go and the more we learn about cave-adapted insects, the more we find we still have to discover about life. It's fascinating."
     The program will focus on four aspects of life around volcanoes in different parts of the world. Kīlauea's recent eruption is widely considered to be a disaster in human terms, but an expected occurrence in nature, as volcanoes build the ʻāina. But how does that work for the animal world? Which critters survive eruptions, and which ones do not? How do frogs, or goats, or insects fare? How can humans benefit? Those questions, and others, will be posed in the upcoming documentary.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Print edition of The Kaʻū Calendar is free to 5,500 mailboxes 
throughout Kaʻū, from Miloliʻi through Volcano, and free on 
stands throughout the district. Read online at kaucalendar.com
Kaʻū High Winter Sports Schedule
Boys Basketball:
Feb. 21-23, Thu.-Sat., HHSAA
Feb. 20-21, Wed.-Thu., HHSAA

KA‘Ū DISTRICT GYM HOSTS A GROUP ART PROJECT, for keiki 5 to 12 years old, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., in the multi-purpose room. Registration is open Tuesday, Feb. 19, through Tuesday, Feb. 26. Free.
     For more, contact Recreation Director Nona Makuakane at 928-3102. Ka‘ū District Gym is located on the Ka‘ū High School campus on Kamani Street in Pāhala. See hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation for hours of operation.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.

Ocean View Community Association Board of Directors Mtg., Wed., Feb. 20, 12:30-1:30pm, Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Arts & Crafts Activity: Eagle Handprint, Wed., Feb. 20, 3:30-5pm, multi-purpose room, Ka‘ū District Gym. Register keiki ages 5-12 Feb. 11-19. Free. 928-3102, hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation

Hawai‘i Disability Legal Services, Thu., Feb. 21, 9-noon, Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Family Reading Night, Thu., Feb. 21, 6-7pm, Ocean View Community Center. 939-7033, ovcahi.org

Paint Nite II, Thu., Feb. 21, 6-8pm, multi-purpose room, Ka‘ū District Gym, Pāhala. Open to adults. Register through Feb. 20. Supply fee. 928-3102, hawaiicounty.gov/pr-recreation

Honuʻea: The Endangered Hawksbill Turtle of Hawaiʻi Island will be presented by Lauren Kurpita, director of Hawaiʻi Island Hawksbill Recovery Project. This year's first Coffee Talk at Kahuku happens Friday, Feb. 22, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., at Kahuku Unit's Visitor Center. She will talk about the difference between hawksbill and green sea turtle species, threats hawksbills encounter, and conservation efforts.
     "Honuʻea, or hawksbills, are critically endangered sea turtles, and only 165 nesting females have been documented since tagging began in 1991. Approximately 90 percent of all documented nesting activity in the state has occurred on Hawaiʻi Island," says the event description.
     Kurpita started on the Project as a volunteer in 2005, became a field technician in 2010, and Project Director in 2012. She has a BS from Syracuse University in biology, and an MA in secondary science education.

     Get to know the Park and neighbors at monthly Coffee Talk events, an informal conversation on a variety of topics. Kaʻū coffee, tea, and pastries are available for purchase. Entrance south of 70.5 mile marker on mauka side of Hwy 11.

Count Humpback Whales - Sanctuary Ocean Count, Sat., Feb. 23, 8-noon, Ka‘ū Coast locations: Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach Park and Ka Lae Park. Participants tally humpback whale sightings and document whale surface behavior during survey, providing valuable data to NOAA. Register at oceancount.org. Registration closes one week prior to event. Last 2019 count is on March 30.

HOVE Road Maintenance Board Mtg., Tue., Feb. 26, 10am, HOVE Road Maintenance office. hoveroad.com, 929-9910, gm@hoveroad.com

Ka‘ū Food Pantry, Tue., Feb. 26, 11:30-1pm, last Tuesday monthly, St. Jude's Episcopal Church in Ocean View.

Talk Story about Proposed Nāʻālehu Wastewater Treatment Plant Tuesday, Feb. 26, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Nāʻālehu Community Center, 75-5635 Mamalahoa Hwy. Nāʻālehu residents are invited to hear progress and changes that have been made to the project, and an outline the next steps of the environmental review process, and to share thoughts and ideas. RSVP to Brena Cabacungan Senelly at eplan1@aol.com, Mary Fujio at 808-961-8030, or Iris Cober at 808-442-3300.

Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi classes offered in Ka‘ū include: Expanded Food and Nutrition Program (EFNEP) on Wednesdays through Feb. 20. See more at hmono.org; Diabetes Management Classes on Mondays in February. Sign up by calling 969-9220 or online at hmono.org/classes.

Miss Kaʻū Coffee Pageant will accept applicants through Feb. 28. The pageant will be held again at the Ka‘ū District Gym on Saturday, April 27, 6 p.m. Miss Kaʻū Coffee and her court will represent the Kaʻū Coffee industry throughout the year at events in the community and beyond, her appearances sponsored by the Edmund C. Olson Trust, II. Pageant Director is Trinidad Marques. Scholarship Committee Directors are Julia Neal and Gloria Camba.
     The community can support the pageant through purchasing tickets, volunteering, and providing scholarships.
     Girls three to 24 years of age are encouraged to enter the pageant. Talents often include hula and singing. Competitive categories include Talent, Gown, Photogenic, Career-Interview, Characters Outfit, and Swimsuit for Miss Kaʻū Coffee. Pageant hopefuls contend for titles of Miss Ka‘ū Coffee, Jr. Miss Kaʻū Coffee, Miss Kaʻū Peaberry, and Miss Kaʻū Coffee Flower.
      Email tmarques@yahoo.com.

Volunteer on Midway Atoll for Six Months. The volunteer will serve as a communication assistant out on Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, on or about March 12 through August. Applications are due by Feb. 28. Potential to be extended to a full year. Get more info and instructions on how to apply.

Nāʻālehu Celebrates Craft Month with open crafting for all ages, while supplies last. Crafting starts off at 3 p.m. each Thursday in February. Free. Contact Sara Kamibayashi at (808) 939-2442 for more.

Applications for a Job to Help Kids with Healthy Eating and Living in Kaʻū are open through March 15. The position, through FoodCorps, is a full-time 11.5-month commitment from August 1, 2019 through July 15, 2020, at Pāhala Elementary School.
     In exchange for service, members receive: $22,000 living stipend paid bi-weekly over the 11.5-month term; $6,095 AmeriCorps Segal education award upon successful completion of service; Student loan deferral or forbearance, if eligible; partial childcare reimbursement, if eligible; Health insurance; Ongoing training; mentorship; and professional development.
     Apply at foodcorps.org/apply. See the service member position description for more details. Visit foodcorps.orgFacebook page, or contact seri.niimi-burch@foodcorps.org for more information.

Niuhi-Shark Fine Art Exhibit is open daily through March 24 at Volcano Art Center Gallery. The public is invited to hear different perspectives on the life of Kamehameha the Great and experience a visual experience of important events in Kamehameha's life from the perspective of two styles of art. The exhibit and supporting events promise paint, prose, protocol, and conversations providing cultural, historical, and educational experiences, with original paintings by Carl F. K. Pao, paired with selections from the book Kamehameha–The Rise of a King by David Kāwika Eyre, with illustrations by Brook Parker. Visit volcanoartcenter.org for more information.

Preschool Opens Doors Applications are open for the 2019-2020 school year. The Department of Human Services encourages families to apply before March 29. This program is for families seeking aid in paying for preschool. Applications, available at patchhawaii.org, received during this period will be considered for preschool participation during July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020. For more information, visit bit.ly/2TolEOm or call 800-746-5620.

Five Scholarships are available from American Association of University Women-Kona.
     Three $2000 scholarships will go to female college-bound Kaʻū High School and West Hawaiʻi high school students. Application packets were sent to high school counselors and are available on the AAUW Kona website at kona-hi.aauw.net. Criteria for choosing recipients are: academic achievement; community involvement; activities and experience; and financial need. Applications must be postmarked by Monday, April 1.
     Two $1,000 scholarships will go to any female high school graduate or women returning to school from home or workplace who are attending a two-year vocational program leading to a marketable skill at Palamanui Campus, 73-4225 Ane Keohokalole Hwy, Kona. Application packets are available on the AAUW Kona website at kona-hi.aauw.net and must be postmarked by Wednesday, April 10.
      AAUW promotes equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Contact sharonnind@aol.com.

Beginning Farmer Institute Cohort Applications are open through April 15. BFI is a free training program which "prepares new producers of any age or operation type for a successful future in agriculture," says the release from Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United. A quote from a former student says, "In our time together, we became more than just farmers and friends – we became a family. NFU's Beginning Farmer Institute is a truly valuable experience that you will not forget."

Kaʻū Coffee Fest invites non-profits, clubs, cooperatives, and businesses to sign up for booths to serve the public at the 11th annual Kaʻū Coffee Fest Hoʻolauleʻa on Saturday, May 4 at Pāhala Community Center. The all-day event comes with music, hula, coffee tasting, and meeting the famous Kaʻū Coffee farmers. See KauCoffeeFestival.com.
     Booth fees are $100 for food vendors; $60 for non-food items and crafts, including coffee and coffee samples; and $35 for pre-approved information displays. Campaign and other political displays are not invited. Fifty percent discounts are provided to bona fide non-profit organizations and cooperatives selling food, crafts, and coffee. Each vendor is responsible for a Department of Health permit, if serving food. Call Gail Nagata 933-0918. Vendors must also obtain county vendor permits costing $30 each, to be displayed at each booth.
     Apply by Friday, April 26. Application at KauCoffeeFestival.com. Email to biokepamoses@gmail.com; mail to Brenda Iokepa-Moses, P.O. Box 208PāhalaHI 96777; or call 808-731-5409.

Applications for a Paid Internship in Kaʻū for Kupu Hawai‘i and The Nature Conservancy are being accepted. The year-long, full-time position is in TNC's Hawai‘i Island Terrestrial Program, which stewards native forest preserves in Ka‘ū and South Kona. Benefits offered include: a $1,600 monthly living allowance, before taxes; a $5,920 education award towards higher education; health care and childcare benefit, if eligible; and receiving an entry-level conservation career experience.
     Application at kupuhawaii.org/conservation. For more, call The Nature Conservancy at 443-5401 or call Kupu Hawai‘i at 808-735-1221.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see Facebook. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter. See our online calendars and our latest print edition at kaucalendar.com.